IF ONLY following every national team was as straightforward as this! England are four from five in the Cricket World Cup and bar a defeat to Pakistan, where they didnt do an awful lot wrong, they have been pretty much note perfect. The critics will say theyve played the weakest sides in the competition, but you can only beat what is put in front of you and Eoin Morgans side have shown no signs of choking under the pressure of being pre-tournament favourites. A 150-run win against Afghanistan last time showed the gulf in quality between the sides, though in truth Morgans frankly ridiculous innings was the real talking point. The England skipper, often overshadowed by the brilliance of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, smashed the Afghan bowlers to all parts with 17 humongous sixes – a world record in an ODI innings. What was perhaps most incredible about the innings was the fact that Morgan had been struggling with a back injury prior to the match and wasnt expected to play. It also showed the difference in mentality that this England side have, with the 25 sixes in that innings comfortably more than the total of 18 the Three Lions hit in the entirety of the 2015 tournament. They head into their match with Sri Lanka at Headingley today having amassed their highest World Cup score and given that this attack has gone for over 300 in two of their four completed matches, their opponents must be fearful of another 50 overs of leather chasing. For almost two decades, Sri Lanka were almost guaranteed to go deep in international tournaments. Having won the World Cup in 1996, they reached the semi-finals in 2003 before finishing runners-up in the following two renewals. However, with only Afghanistan starting below them in the pre-tournament betting, the scale of their downturn is clear for all to see.
Since winning a below-par series involving Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, they have won just four of their 21 ODIs, with their on-field struggles clearly not helped by their damaging off-field politics. Theyve only beaten Afghanistan so far, but havent been helped by the English weather which has seen their games with Pakistan and Bangladesh abandoned without a ball being bowled. Though hes no spring chicken at 35 years of age, Lasith Malinga continues to pick up wickets and despite being replaced as captain last September, they have one of the games better allrounders in Read More – Source